The Bone Cancer Research Trust is delighted to announce we have won a national Charity Award, the most prestigious award in the UK charity sector - Healthcare And Medical Research Charity of the Year!

The award was announced at a black tie dinner at the Tower of London on June 5th June, and is an accolade from the sector’s most highly-regarded excellence recognition scheme. A shortlist of 28 charities had been selected across 10 categories by an independent panel of sector leaders for demonstrating best practice in leadership and management from which other organisations can learn.

The evening was hosted by the Rev Richard Coles, who was joined by celebrities, representatives of the shortlisted charities and leaders from Britain’s best known and best loved charities.

The Bone Cancer Research Trust's Award, in the Healthcare and Medical Research category, recognises our National Biospecimen Collection Project, an innovative new approach to nationwide, sustainable patient tissue sample collection, which we developed out of the frustration that outcomes for patients had seen little improvement in 30 years.

For the research community to fully understand primary bone cancer and to find new ways to develop treatments, tissue samples of the disease are needed for use in the laboratory. However, a range of issues were preventing these being collected from patients at treatment and surgical centres. New funding was being stifled as the chances of success were comparatively low, and research was concentrated on other forms of cancer where samples were available. Additionally, patients were frustrated at not being given the opportunity to support research.

Awards judge, Lynne Berry OBE said:

Bone Cancer Research Trust demonstrated great success in getting an awful lot of patients to donate samples, in a very cost-effective way. The charity appeared to have listened closely to its beneficiaries and was driven to act by their needs.

Zoe Davison, Head of Research and Information at the Bone Cancer Research Trust, said:

We are truly honoured to win such a prestigious award. The Bone Cancer Research Trust is dedicated to changing the future landscape for bone cancer patients and we identified this could only happen by improving sample availability and working in collaboration with the five NHS bone cancer surgical centres in England. We have provided them with the resources they need to ensure adequate infrastructure is in place to make significant progress. It’s an absolute privilege that our efforts, commitment and dedication has been recognised by The Charity Awards.

In 2016, primary bone cancer fell into the remit of the government-funded 100,000 Genomes project, providing a huge opportunity to uncover the genetics associated with these tumours. Bone Cancer Research Trust began work on a new model of tissue sample collection, to equip existing NHS surgical centres around the country to collect samples, rather than the conventional model of building a single physical biobank.

Since the project launched, 1,167 patient samples have been collected and there has been a 45% increase in patients being approached to consent. There has also been a 100% increase in the open availability of samples for use in research with all samples being made available for relevant research projects. As a direct result, sarcoma has been the largest represented group of cancers in the 100,000 Genomes Project.

We wouldn't have won this award without the generosity of the patients, agreeing to donate their samples for research. Evie, osteosarcoma patient, age 12, said:

I decided to take part because I can help other people then that’s really good, if something can come out of my experience it will be kind of worth it to be honest. It felt really good to be involved because it’s no pain or anything for me, but it’s gaining for other people, so I was happy to take part.

Matthew Nolan, chief executive of Civil Society Media, which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated Bone Cancer Research Trust on its highly-coveted award. He said:

We had more entries than ever before this year, and the standard was as high as ever, so the Bone Cancer Research Trust should be very proud to have won their category. Their programme has delivered great results. For 20 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do. Our rigorous judging process highlights those charities with the most innovative ideas and the most effective approaches to delivering real change. All the winners are examples of large and small charities who are truly leaders in their field.

Sir John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) which sponsors the Awards said:

Strong leadership, innovation, service excellence and a commitment to transparency; all of the winning charities live these values, and it’s right they receive recognition for their amazing work for making this country a better place.

This Award is the third award the team have won this year, In May, the Bone Cancer Research Trust also won 'Fundraising Team of the Year' and 'Fundraising Campaign of the Year' at the 2019 Institute of Fundraising Yorkshire & Humber Awards.

The Bone Cancer Research Trust would like to thank the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Freeman Hospital, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital for their outstanding contribution to patient sample collection and for their ongoing commitment to the project.